FOND DU LAC (WITI) -- The Wisconsin Department of Justice Division of Criminal Investigation is investigating the events that led to the tragic death of a Wisconsin State Patrol trooper in Fond du Lac on Tuesday, March 24th. Investigators now believe Steven Timothy Snyder, the suspect killed in in the exchange of gunfire with Trooper Trevor Casper shot and killed a 59-year-old man and robbed a bank in Wausaukee prior to the incident in Fond du Lac.
In a news conference on Wednesday afternoon, officials with the Wisconsin State Patrol honored 21-year-old Trooper Trevor Casper. They say Tuesday was his first day solo in the field -- and his response to the crime before him was "absolutely textbook." Lt. Col. Brian Rahn said Casper showed a real devotion to law enforcement -- and he was thanked for all the expressions of sympathy for Casper and his family.
"He was very excited about his opportunity to be a trooper in the Northeast Region. He always had a smile on his face. He wore that uniform with pride and distinction. He meant a lot to this region and his co-workers. He will be truly missed," Captain Anthony Burrell said.
Trooper Casper was the youngest law enforcement officer killed in the line of duty in Wisconsin history. He is the sixth Wisconsin State Patrol trooper to die on the job. 1972 was the last time a Wisconsin State Patrol trooper was killed by gunfire.
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Snyder displayed a handgun and fired one round before robbing the bank of cash.
He then fled the bank in a stolen bank employee’s vehicle.
Sheriff’s officials responded to the bank, and were then actively involved in looking for Snyder and the stolen vehicle.
Just after 2:30 p.m., another call came in to the Marinette County Sheriff’s Office regarding a male victim found along Jermac Road — just east of Wausaukee near a pickup truck that was still running. That man, now identified as Thomas Christ, was found to be deceased.
Officials searched the area and located the stolen vehicle taken from the bank.
Investigators believe Snyder fled from that scene in another vehicle. The Wisconsin DOJ has confirmed that Christ was shot and killed during an encounter with Snyder near Christ’s property.
Eventually, the suspect and vehicle information as to the bank robbery was learned and relayed to law enforcement officials. It was soon learned that Snyder and the vehicle he was driving were spotted in Fond du Lac by Trooper Casper. Snyder exchanged gunfire with Trooper Casper — and both were killed.
The shooting happened around 5:30 p.m. in the 100 block of N. Berger Parkway in Fond du Lac.
Captain Anthony Burrell was Casper's commander and was there Tuesday as the exchange of gunfire occurred.
"I did see Trooper Casper fall to the ground," Captain Burrell said.
John Rumbuc lives a few hundred feet from the scene where the shooting occurred. Twenty-four hours later, he watched as police began to clear the scene.
"I was watching TV and I heard 'pop, pop, pop, pop.' I think everybody is in shock. Like, wow -- it happened here," Rumbuc said.
Autopsies on Trooper Casper and Snyder are expected to be complete Wednesday -- and likely will assist in determining what occurred during the confrontation.
Meanwhile, a Facebook page is encouraging people to shine a light in their homes in memory of Wisconsin State Trooper Trevor Casper. The page asks people to turn their blue lights on this Sunday, March 29th.
"(This loss) is something that every law enforcement officer feels very deeply, and every officer's family feels deeply as well,"
Flags were at half-staff in Fond du Lac Wednesday -- and also in Casper's hometown of Kiel.
The FBI's Milwaukee Division says it is working with the Wisconsin Department of Justice Division of Criminal Investigation -- looking into the Wausaukee bank robbery and another that occurred Tuesday at the Hometown Bank in Fond du Lac. In a statement, the FBI says:
"The FBI continues to investigate the possibility of connections to deceased bank robbery suspect Steven Timothy Snyder of Michigan, and other unsolved bank robberies in Wisconsin and other states."
But the Wisconsin DOJ says so far, it has not been confirmed that Synder was involved in any other bank robberies.
CLICK HERE to access a GoFundMe page established in Trooper Casper's honor.